FOOD, DRINK & ART GUIDE
The true flavours of the Fleurieu are a rich, delicious meld of combined ingredients. It’s the satisfaction of fresh regional produce in the company of extraordinary wines that speak of place and provenance. It’s the pleasure of carefree outdoor experiences that celebrate the beauty of a pristine natural environment. It’s the joy of savouring artworks and expressive performances. It’s especially about big hearted locals who welcome you to share their land of plenty.
As the demands and desires of travellers continue to change, so too have tourism experiences throughout the Fleurieu Peninsula been re-imagined and re-designed – and we think you’re bound to be impressed. The Fleurieu provides a broad but cohesive offering of desirable attractions. Winery visits are central to the region, but so is the allure of fabulous food, in restaurants and cafes, from markets and farm gate providores. Art is also an essential part of the conversation, embracing beach culture, Indigenous stories and an unspoiled landscape. It’s no wonder that artists of all stripes choose to live here – painters, performers, musicians, crafty artisans, mercurial chefs and winemakers. The Fleurieu is their muse and the wellspring of their creativity.
The quality of the Fleurieu offering extends across all categories, with all of its appealing attributes being of equal importance – and the convenience of having such an expansive paradise located so close to the city of Adelaide is an under-appreciated asset. To reap the full benefits, you’ll have to stay a while longer. Book a room among the vineyards or flanking the beach. Stay for sundowner drinks. Wake up to the irresistible aroma of locally roasted coffee. Enjoy the luxury of lazy time in a place where every pleasure is within easy reach, at any time of the year. And the best time to taste it all is right now.
The key to a great day on the Fleurieu Peninsula is to plan ahead. Make prior bookings at all your planned destinations – to ensure availability, confirm costs and to advise how much time you’ll need at each location.
Click through and explore the neighbourhoods by using the interactive maps below to plan your next trip.
McLAREN VALE to McLAREN FLAT
There are treats for visitors to savour even before arriving in McLaren Vale and getting their bearings at the Visitors Information Centre, which serves as the popular northern gateway to the Fleurieu Peninsula. Take the slow route away from the Southern Expressway and you’ll discover serious first tastes of regional food and drink signatures.
All tastes are catered for along Main Rd, so park the car and stroll through the main street of town to find outstanding art, wine and produce. Fill your belly, or fill your hamper with goodies to take with you.
If your eyes don’t divert from the straight road heading south from McLaren Vale, you’d swear it offered only a dense vista of pristine grape vines. Look closer. There are numerous side roads with welcoming cellar door experiences to explore before you reach Willunga – and don’t forget the seductive slower route south, travelling along the Shiraz Trail either by bicycle or by foot for an invigorating excursion beside the vines.
The spaces between towns throughout the Fleurieu hold all manner of secrets, so take the time to do some exploring between destinations and you’ll find welcoming farm gate shops and cellar doors dotted amongst the vineyards.
A glorious stretch of pristine white sand beaches that define the western edge of the Fleurieu’s Mid Coast has long been a haven for lovers of water sports – from surfing to snorkelling or sailing. Now, there’s a growing cluster of chic hospitality ventures at prime coastal locations, from funky coffee shops and casual cafes, to grand dining experiences with breath-taking coastal views.
The heart of Aldinga village beats strong thanks to its smart local community operating a tight cluster of boutique businesses that specialise in providing produce and experiences of bespoke quality.
mt compass and surrounds
As the pivot point in the middle of the peninsula, Mount Compass is surrounded by rich soil, making it a prime location for dairy cattle, fruit and vegetable crops. This has given rise to a community of outstanding farms, but also eateries and cafes that take advantage of such pristine foods. It’s a bountiful area that inspires everyone from visual artists to artisanal brewers.
yankalilla to second valley
Rolling hills through the lower regions of the Fleurieu show off the region’s fabulous farming credentials, which translates to fantastic fresh food in many of the local eateries.
goolwa (riverside to beachside)
At the mouth of the Murray River, Goolwa has historically been an important port and trading town – and it continues to serve as a key service hub in the Southern Fleurieu. Noted for obtaining international Cittaslow status, linked to the Slow Food philosophy of respecting local cultural identity, Goolwa is also embracing contemporary appeal in its art galleries and expanding café culture.
port elliot & middleton
These new boom towns of Fleurieu’s southern coastline have not only become hotspots for holiday makers, but also a hub of exciting new hospitality businesses, from cafés and cool retail outlets to inspiring art galleries – along with a host of crafty artisan producers forming an impressive creative cluster in the Factory 9 facility.
The grand matriarch of the southern coast, dotted with old sandstone mansions and big seaside bungalows, is now being peppered with modern apartment blocks and grand modern luxury homes. The tourism offerings are changing too, with more sophisticated dining choices, artisan coffee roasters, and major makeovers in motion for the causeway and South Australian Whale Centre.
Strathalbyn’s inviting village feel, with its pretty central rotunda beside the Soldiers Memorial Gardens and meandering river that bisects the centre of town, provides a central destination for many Fleurieu travellers. Beyond a range of specialist food shops and cafes, there’s also a huge array of galleries and antique shops to browse through.
For too long an unsung hero of the Australian wine industry, Langhorne Creek is winning due recognition for the outstanding quality of its bountiful fruit – and a fresh collection of premium cellar door locales are showing off the region’s best wines in the company of smart new tasting experiences.